My sibling, my friend

My sibling, my friend

Together from birth

My sibling, my friend

We love them, we share our secrets with them, we fight with them, we laugh at them and we cry for them. This is the magic of the bond that siblings share. At one moment they appear to be our biggest enemies, and at the very next they seem like our greatest friends.

The relationship between these born friends has definitely changed over the years. Now, sibling relationship has become more friendly and liberal. Earlier, the elder brother and sister were a respected lot. They took up the responsibility of their younger siblings. They had to set an example to be followed by the younger ones in the family. More than friends, the elder siblings played the role of a parent.

Narsimha R S Reddy, a 60-year-old and a father of three, says, “We loved our brothers and sisters but never expressed it so well. Also, I remember how my younger brother respected me and my opinions. Even if he differed with me he would not contradict me.

Now I find my three children voice their views fearlessly in front of me.”

According to Reddy, “I took full responsibility of my younger brother’s family after losing him to a cardiac arrest. I don’t think my children would have ever done this if they were in my place as they are supporters of nuclear families.”

Siblings have always been a great support and in today’s stressful surroundings, we need them even more. As Saba Seher, a writer, aptly says, “I need my siblings more than my parents needed theirs. For, the life we lead is more stressful. Our parents’ lives were much simpler. For me my brother and sisters are major stress busters.”

Some parents believe that the emotional bond that brothers and sisters share in childhood has become weak with sibling rivalry on the rise. Now, children do not like to share their toys, chocolates or books. In some cases, they see each other as competitors of their parents’ love. Ganga Krishnakumar, who works at Cypress Semiconductor, says, “The emotional quotient in the relationship that my sister and I shared was much higher than in the relationship between my two sons.” Shail Jhavar, a mother of two adds, “All day my sons indulge in fights over trivial issues. I don’t remember ever having fought with my brother.”

However, once children grow up to be adults they might wonder why they fussed and fought so much and discover a true friend in each other. Kavya, a college girl, quips, “My brother and sister are more like friends to me with whom I can share my outings and jokes.” Vatsala, a B.Tech student at PESIT, says, “My elder sister is a combination of a friend and a guide. I can share everything with her without worrying about what she’ll think of me.” Dhruti too shares a frank relationship with her sister. She says, “The day I turned 18, my elder sister said ‘you’re a big girl now’ and took me to a multiplex to see an adult film.”

Technological invasion too has affected sibling relationship. Abhinash, a Ph.D student at IISc, says, “Letters were the only way my mother could communicate with her siblings, after her marriage. Now, we have moved on from these snail-paced posts. I see my wife calling up her sister every day.” However, Ramesh Kumar Singh, an Assistant Professor at IIT Bombay, differs, “Earlier, there were no TV, video games, computers and mobile phones. Siblings were the only companions. Today, children are surrounded with various gadgets and they have very little time to interact and have fun with their siblings.”

There is a change in post wedding sibling relationship too. In the past, women after their wedding were focussed on their husband’s family and communication with their parents and siblings was limited but now it is not so. Women maintain a caring relationship with their family even after their wedding.”

A schoolgirl Jyothir, who’s an only child, says, “When I see my friends having fun with their siblings, I feel lonely. But I do have fun with my cousins when I visit my village.”

In a nuclear setup, the importance of siblings is even more so. They are with us as playmates throughout childhood. As adults, they are aware of the other’s struggles, victories and disappointments. And as these born friends age, they share it all — family feuds, interesting stories of their children and grandchildren and of course occasional trips down memory lane.